Sometimes, allergies play a distinctive role in further aggravating one’s asthma. Since asthma is a lung disease, definite triggers in the air (such as allergies) will provoke asthma symptoms in most individuals. Of course, not all cases of asthma are triggered by allergies. However, one thing is common for all asthma sufferers whenever an asthma attack occurs, it becomes difficult to breathe. The airways or bronchial tubes of the lungs will become more inflamed and constrict with extra mucous in the airways, causing symptoms such as chest tightening, coughing, gasping for air, and sometimes, even wheezing.
All asthma sufferers need to identify the exact triggers that cause their symptoms. In this way, they can control asthma and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Identifying these triggers becomes a vital part of the asthmatic’s treatment plan. Many triggers are environmental and include allergens and irritants. The following are allergens (substances which can cause an allergic reaction in people): dust mites secretions from their debris may cause airway inflammation; pets their dander, hair, secretions, etc. are triggers; cockroaches these pests with their wastes trigger attacks; indoor molds their reproductive spores which are air borne are triggers for attacks; pollen common and ever-present allergens which cause annoying symptoms (sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes); and, finally, certain foods (like peanuts and their by-products) food allergies seem fairly innocuous but can generate severe attacks.
Furthermore, other triggers involve irritants such as: dust all kinds, like chalk dust and household dust; tobacco smoke secondhand smoke is an instant trigger for some people; odors, pleasant or unpleasant, for example perfumes, cosmetics, detergents, cleaning products, and fumes from gasoline or paint; and air pollutants vehicle and factory emissions irritate the airways.
Of course, with so many triggers, it may seem impossible to avoid all of them. However, there are proactive steps to take. Controlling the effect of allergens will involve the following: for dust mites, weekly vacuuming and washing bed linens in hot water plus forego heavy drapery and carpeting; in the case of pets, either do not own any or wash them weekly to get rid of surface allergens; for roaches, get professional help in exterminating; for molds, immediately deal with standing water, drying the area, fixing leaks if any, often changing air conditioning filters; for pollen, wearing masks may help if outdoors, otherwise close all windows and try to remain indoors; and for food allergies, simply avoid altogether.
Triggers from irritants can be managed by: in the case of dust, use the same measures as for dust mites, perhaps using an air purifier; for smoking, completely avoid with no smoking in the home; for odors, avoid using as much as possible heavy fragrances and cosmetics, use no-fragrance products for detergents, use natural cleansing solutions, wear face masks when painting, and avoid breathing in gas fumes; and for air pollutants, remain indoors, if at all possible, otherwise, also wear a face mask. Additionally, for the frequent times an individual can not avoid the allergens or irritants, asthma treatment may also involve taking both asthma medications and allergy medications, as well.
By learning what triggers asthma attacks, asthmatics will know what triggers to avoid and how to modify their home environments. They will take medications, if necessary, as prescribed for their asthma by their physicians. Even more than this, each will also know when personal adjustments must be made in controlling their asthma symptoms. Moreover, they will know when and how to prepare for situations out of their personal control. In this way, asthma sufferers will both actively participate in preventing any future asthma attacks and in successfully managing their asthma.